Thing-a-Week #43

This is late. I made another woven scarf. That WIP is still on my table loom, so I hopped on the rigid heddle to make this.

Thing a Week #43: Woven Scarf

The warp is Creatively Dyed Yarns Steele in colorway “Corus,” and the weft is Valley Yarns 10/2 Bamboo in black. I was going for a pooled color effect, in which I carefully plan the length of the warp to make the colors match up to make broad stripes. The fine bamboo lets the warp show through rather nicely.

Thing a Week #43: Woven Scarf

“Elle,” you say, “don’t you make anything but scarves?” Yes, I could, but I just find scarves a great way to explore different colors and textures quickly while at the same time producing something I’ll actually use. I’ve been mostly exploring color, but maybe I should try something with texture.

Thing-a-Week #42

Back in March, I stated that my only rule for doing Thing-a-Week would be that I would have to start and finish my item in one week. This week, I broke that rule. I bit off more than I could chew, and didn’t get anywhere near complete on this week’s Thing.

I was going to start in on a sampler from the book I was using for last week’s Thing, but when I looked more closely at it, I realized it’d take literally miles of yarn to do the whole thing, which I didn’t have. So instead I dipped into some of my new Tencel yarn to make yet another scarf (8/2 Tencel in “Gold” and “Shale”). What I didn’t count on was the amount of time it takes to weave such a long item with such fine yarn at my learner’s pace. It’s still on the loom:

Thing a Week #42: WIP

It is pretty, but it’s only about a foot-and-a-half of what I intended to be a 6-foot skinny scarf. I threaded the loom for what’s called a Rosepath, and treadled a reverse twill repeating pattern to make the little diamonds (with a straight twill at intervals to make the zigzag, when I got bored).

Thing a Week #42: WIP

I’m actually pleasantly surprised with how it’s turning out. My beating and selvages are a little wonky here and there, but I figure this will give me a lot of practice. I know there’s more I can do with different treadling with Rosepath, too, but I sort of wanted a consistent look for the scarf. We’ll see if I change my mind as I work on it some more.

Thing-a-Week #41

As I noted last week, I broke down and bought an old but never-used Rasmussen table loom. I still have plans for my rigid heddle, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities of this 4-shaft loom. I haven’t done much with it yet, but I did manage to make a quick sampler on it.

First, I wound the warp, using some cotton carpet warp that was included with the table loom. My rigid heddle, a Kromski Harp, came with pegs to turn the bottom of it into a warping board, so that’s what I used. I actually rewound this after I took the picture to make a shorter warp, though.

Preparing the warp

After warping the loom, I began to weave. I just threaded a simple twill, to get a feel for it. (My husband even made me a raddle to spread the warp. I keep saying he’s a keeper!) At first I just did a plain weave, but then started in on a sampler in one of the books that came with the loom. (The books are very 70s. One of them even goes into macrame!)

Weaving

The sampler in the book (Weaving by Shirley Held) turned out to be pretty good, and after trying it for a while, I saw that I really could be doing a sampler with varied threading, so I’m going to start over. I cut off the sampler I was working on, and here it is!

Thing a Week #41: Sampler

Not too bad for a first try. I can see that I need to work on my selvage, but the patterns don’t look half bad. I’m on my way!

Thing-a-Week #40

I said I was trying to use up my stash yarns, and I wasn’t lying. Behold, another woven scarf!

Thing a Week #40: Another Woven Scarf

I went with a sport-weight yarn this time for the warp: Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino, colorway “Sedona.” The purples in this yarn just begged for another deep purple for the weft, so I used Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel in “Amethyst.”

Thing a Week #40: Another Woven Scarf

This time I practiced my weft spacing, shooting for 12 epi, which I think turned out well. However, the merino was super-duper stretchy, making it difficult to control warp tension and resulting in a slight waviness. Almost looks intentional, though, so I’m not going to complain.

In other news, I picked up a new Rasmussen 4-shaft table loom last night. I still love my rigid heddle, but this loom will give me a chance to practice some interesting patterns.

Rasmussen table loom

Beauty, eh?

Thing-a-Week #39

Switching gears, I hopped back on my loom and wove me a new scarf.

Thing a Week #39: Woven Scarf

The warp is Arucania Ranco Multy, a wool/nylon blend, hand-dyed in rich browns. The weft is Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel in “Spice,” a nice deep red. The scarf measures 7 in. wide by around 6 ft. long. I also decided to twist the fringe (including strands of the tencel with the warp yarn), which I’m rather pleased with.

Thing a Week #39: Woven Scarf

If I had to do it over again, I’d not pack my weft in as much. I’m not thrilled at how much the red overpowers the brown, and the weft is a little uneven. Still, it turned out pretty well.

I’m off for a couple of weeks, so I hope to use up some of my stash yarns just practicing my weaving. Wish me luck!

Thing-a-Week #38

Continuing on from last week, I spun up the fiber I prepared for last week’s Thing. I wanted to do a comparison of woolen vs. worsted spinning, hence the separate prep of batt and sliver. Woolen is on the left and worsted is on the right:

Thing a Week #38: Handspun

What you’re seeing here is a true woolen yarn and a true worsted yarn. The woolen was spun from a carded batt using the long-draw technique, which results in an airy, warm yarn. The worsted was spun from combed sliver using an “inch-worm” techique, which results in a smoother, stronger yarn. The difference is hard to see, however: the CVM fiber I’m using is really probably more suited to the woolen technique and never got really smooth. Still, you can see in the following closeup that the right sample (worsted) is slightly smoother than the left (woolen):

Thing a Week #38: Handspun

Both samples are really springy and softer than I expected. It was an interesting experiment. And I still have several pounds of the CVM left!

Thing-a-Week #37

Back in September I bought 3 CVM fleeces from a farm up north: one white and two variegated. I did actually manage to wash two of them within weeks of getting them (which, come to think of it, could’ve each been a Thing, had I been doing Things at the time), and this week I started working with one of them. Here’s it is, a varigated CVM from an animal named Buster Ram:

CVM fleece - "Buster Ram"

I decided to do both carded and combed samples, to see how the wool behaves when spun. Here is some of the wool loaded on my English combs. To the left is my drum carder, which I had just used to make a batt. In the bin are the locks I was working with.

Combing CVM fleece

Hand carding and combing can actually be quite time-consuming. By the end of this excercise I had only two ounces of fiber to play with, one in a carded batt and one in several combed slivers. The fiber is a bit neppy, on account of me starting with some of the back and neck fleece, which tends to be somewhat tender and short. We’ll just call it rustic. The staples themselves went from dove gray at the cut end through white to cream at the tips, resulting in a light tan color overall when blended. It’s really very nice.

Thing a Week #37: Fiber

I had hoped to finish this week’s Thing by spinning these, going woolen with the batt and worsted with the sliver (two methods of spinning that result in different finished yarns), but I ran out of time. That just leaves me more to do next week!

Thing-a-Week #36

It’s the return of Thing-a-Week*!

Back in August, for Thing-a-Week #20, my friend Ewenique and I dyed some yarn and fiber, all in the same color: “Screen Door Purple.” (There’s a story behind that name, but I’m not telling!) This week, I finally got around to spinning the fiber.

Handspun

The 8 ounces of Corriedale fiber spun up to about 430 yards of yummy, plummy DK-weight yarn. Not sure what I’ll do with it. It’s not soft enough for next-to-skin wear, but I’m sure it’ll make a nice… something. Any ideas?

Handspun

* I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way I’m up to #36. My last Thing was #23 three months ago. I missed 13 (yes, 13!!) weeks due to work and other busy stuff. I thought about it a lot, and I had two choices: pick up where I left off with #24 and add make-up days to the end, or skip them, plow ahead, and end in March as originally planned. Since it’s a miracle I’ve made it this far, I’m taking the easier route and skipping the 13 Things I missed. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m sure I’ll still come up with some good stuff before I’m done!

And another thing

Right. So I haven’t been doing Thing-a-Week lately, but I have two things that should’ve taken a week and took a month each instead. Close enough, right?

First, we have a knit hat:

Lamb's Lace Beret

The pattern is Lamb’s Lace Beret by Christina Wall of Classic Cable Knits. The yarn is Old Maiden Aunt superwash merino 4-ply in Ultraviolet, a gift from my friend Ewenique. The color is gorgeous. I just made it for me, though I’m not sure it suits me. Maybe I’m just not used to berets.

After I finished the hat, I moved on to something I’ve been wanting to make for a while. If you know your internet memes, you’ll recognize this:

Nyan Cat Scarf

That’s right, it’s a Nyan Cat in scarf form. The pattern is Amigurumi Pop Tart Cat Scarf by Mevlinn Gusick, and it’s crocheted in wool. It was fun to make and even more fun to wear. You can’t help but smile at it!

Nyan Cat Scarf

So I do have something lined up to attempt this week, so I might just get back into Thing-a-Week real soon. Let’s hope!

The State of Things

You might have noticed that I’ve missed a couple of Things-a-Week. I’m not giving up, but I might miss a few more here and there. Between work and other things, I just haven’t had time to do much of anything fibery lately. Why, this weekend, we started building a new shed! So I am doing things, just not Things.

So, stay tuned, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see something here every week for a little while.